Prostate Cancer

Ganoderma lucidum has been identified as a promising agent for prostate cancer with in vitro evidence showing inhibition of hormone dependent and independent prostate cancer cells through multiple pathways, including binding to androgen receptor, inhibition of the active transcription factors: NF-kB and AP-1, inhibition of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor uPAR, as well as cell adhesion and cell migration of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells1-12.

Ganodermic triterpenes have also been shown to suppress steroid 5α-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and has been shown to play an important role in the development of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The use of other steroid 5α-reductase inhibitors has been found to decrease the incidence of prostate cancer and G. lucidum would appear to be a promising candidate for further research in this regard.

Several in vitro studies using mushroom polysaccharides have also shown suppression of both androgen-dependent and -independent cell growth with a comparative study of aqueous extracts from 23 mushroom species, including G. lucidum, Trametes versicolor, Grifola frondosa, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Agaricus subrufescens, Lentinula edodes and Hericium erinaceus, on androgen-independent PC-3 cells showing Pleurotus ostreatus and Flammulina velutipes to have the greatest cytotoxicity, significantly increasing cancer cell apoptosis13,14. Coprinus comatus has also been shown to reduce androgen and glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity in a dose dependent manner15.

In addition, an in vivo study using severely immunodeficient mice found A. subrufescens polysaccharides to directly inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells via an apoptotic pathway and suppress prostate tumour growth via antiproliferative and antiangiogenic mechanisms16.

A 2002 clinical study of an L. edodes polysaccharide extract however, showed it to be ineffective in stopping the disease with no instances of regression and progression in 23 of 61 men over a 6 month period17.


1. Pharmacological values of medicinal mushrooms for prostate cancer therapy: the case of Ganoderma lucidum. Mahajna J, Dotan N, Zaidman BZ, Petrova RD, Wasser SP. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(1):16–26.

2. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in cancer treatment. Sliva D. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003;2(4):358–364.

3. Androgen receptor-dependent and -independent mechanisms mediate Ganoderma lucidum activities in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Zaidman BZ, Wasser SP, Nevo E, Mahajna J. Int J Oncol. 2007;31(4):959–967.

4. Anti-androgen effects of extracts and compounds from Ganoderma lucidum. Liu J, Tamura S, Kurashiki K, Shimizu K, Noda K, Konishi F, Kumamoto S, Kondo R. Chem Biodivers. 2009;6(2):231–243.

5. The anti-androgen effect of ganoderol B isolated from the fruiting body of Ganoderma lucidum. Liu J, Shimizu K, Konishi F, Kumamoto S, Kondo R. Bioorg Med Chem. 2007;15(14):4966–4972.

6. Medicinal mushroom cuts off prostate cancer cells’ blood supply. Johnston N. Drug Discov Today. 2005;10(23-24):1584.

7. Ganoderma lucidum suppresses angiogenesis through the inhibition of secretion of VEGF and TGF-beta1 from prostate cancer cells. Stanley G, Harvey K, Slivova V, Jiang J, Sliva D. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005;330(1):46–52.

8. Ganoderma lucidum inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells PC-3. Jiang J, Slivova V, Valachovicova T, Harvey K, Sliva D. Int J Oncol. 2004;24(5):1093–1099.

9. Biologic activity of spores and dried powder from Ganoderma lucidum for the inhibition of highly invasive human breast and prostate cancer cells. Sliva D, Sedlak M, Slivova V, Valachovicova T, Lloyd FP Jr, Ho NW. J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9(4):491–497.

10. Ganoderic acid DM: anti-androgenic osteoclastogenesis inhibitor. Liu J, Shiono J, Shimizu K, Kukita A, Kukita T, Kondo R. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2009;19(8):2154–2157.

11. Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidum. Fujita R, Liu J, Shimizu K, Konishi F, Noda K, Kumamoto S, Ueda C, Tajiri H, Kaneko S, Suimi Y, Kondo R. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;102(1):107–112.

12. Mushroom substances as therapeutics for hormone refractory prostate cancer. Mahajna J, Zaidman BZ, Sussan S, Dotan N, Wasser SP, Nevo E. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2007;9(3):212–213.

13. Induction of apoptosis in human prostatic cancer cells with beta-glucan (Maitake mushroom polysaccharide). Fullerton SA, Samadi AA, Tortorelis DG, Choudhury MS, Mallouh C, Tazaki H, Konno S. Mol Urol. 2000;4(1):7–13.

14. Cytotoxic effect of oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus on human androgen-independent prostate cancer PC-3 cells. Gu YH, Sivam G. J Med Food. 2006;9(2):196–204.

15. Coprinus comatus and Ganoderma lucidum interfere with androgen receptor function in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Zaidman BZ, Wasser SP, Nevo E, Mahajna J. Mol Biol Rep. 2008;35(2):107–117.

16. Inhibitory mechanisms of Agaricus blazei Murill on the growth of prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. Yu CH, Kan SF, Shu CH, Lu TJ, Sun-Hwang L, Wang PS. J Nutr Biochem. 2009;20(10):753–764.

17. Effects of a mushroom mycelium extract on the treatment of prostate cancer. deVere White RW, Hackman RM, Soares SE, Beckett LA, Sun B. Urology. 2002;60(4):640–644.